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Coming soon: Steep hikes in motor insurance premium for traffic violations

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A country that faces nine crashes every 10 minutes has decided to act tough on drivers who cause accidents. Drivers who have so far been worried about shelling a large amount on traffic violations, would soon be dealing with another concern: ‘How would this traffic law violation impact the insurance premium on the vehicle?’

While the nine-member committee headed by Anurag Rastogi, Chief Actuary & Chief Underwriting Officer, HDFC Ergo General Insurance, charts the road-map for mapping traffic violations to the cost of insurance and tried to gauge the new parameters on which vehicle insurance are likely to be pegged.Such a linkage of insurance premium to traffic violations is expected to reduce accidents and bring about a change in driving behaviour as per the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA), which has formed a working group to examine the system of linking premiums to traffic law violations.

Commenting on the move Sajja Praveen Chowdary, Head-Motor Insurance,, says, “The overall environment is being altered to make people more responsible when they are in public spaces. So, good drivers would be definitely paying a lower premium versus bad drivers and that is the ideal scenario any insurer would aim for.”Currently, motor insurance premiums are primarily decided by insurance companies based on the historical loss experienced for a particular category of vehicle, including the make in a specific region. But the insurance industry has been waiting for insured/driver-specific information for understanding the risk better to help in improved underwriting, according to Amitabh Jain, Head-Motor & Health underwriting and Claims at ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company (ILGIC).

Whatever changes and developments insurers have undertaken in terms of understanding the claims history of a particular vehicle category would be incomplete without gauging the circumstances under which the vehicle damage occurred. And, driving behaviour is a key parameter, giving them a peek into the probability of claim from a particular person, based on his/her driving behaviour.

“While insurance companies consistently try to improve the pricing for a vehicle by incorporating additional risk parameters such as previous claims history, vehicle safety features (such as an anti-theft device), vintage of the vehicle, and a customer’s association with an insurance company, the ideal way to price a risk would be the individual driving behaviour,” reveals Rakesh Jain, ED & CEO, Reliance General Insurance (RGIC).

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Advance tax mop-up posts dismal growth, rises by just 6% in H1FY20

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The tax authorities are faced with a steep revenue collectiontarget for 2019-20, with advance tax mop-up posting dismal growth in the first half of the financial year, indicating a deepening economic slowdown.

The overall advance tax collection, including corporate and personal income tax, grew by 6 per cent between April and mid-September as against 18 per cent in the year-ago period, according to sources in the know.

Direct tax collectionhas seen a growth rate of mere 5 per cent so far this year, which means that collections will need to expand by at least 27 per cent in the remaining half to achieve the Budget target of 17.3 per cent growth.

Advance tax collectionafter the second instalment stood at Rs 2.2 trillion. The gross direct tax collectionhas touched Rs 5.5 trillion as against the full-year target of Rs 13.35 trillion.

Within the advance tax collection, corporation tax mop-up grew by 6.5 per cent and personal income tax by 3.5 per cent.

“The revenue situation remains grim on account of the economy expanding slower than expected and key industries being impacted. If the situation does not improve, meeting the collection target will be impossible,” said a government official.

India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth plummeted to a 25-quarter low of 5 per cent in the first quarter of FY20.

The tax buoyancy estimated this year at 1.44 is higher than 1.21 achieved last year. In simple terms, it means if nominal GDP expands by 10 per cent, direct tax collectionwill grow by 14.4 per cent, which appears near impossible in the current situation. Nominal GDP grew by just 8 per cent in the first quarter as against 12 per cent budgeted for FY20. Several institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), have cut India’s growth forecast.

Forex - Yen Rises against Dollar After BOJ Holds

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The yen rose from a seven week low against the U.S. dollar on Thursday after the Bank of Japan kept monetary policy on hold, in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s overnight decision to cut rates.

The dollar was down 0.44% to 107.95 yen by 2:32 AM ET (6:32 GMT) after the BoJ kept policy on hold, as expected, but signaled it could ease next month.

Central banks around the world have been loosening policy to counter the risks of low inflation and recession.

The Fed cut interest rates for a second time this year on Wednesday in a 7-3 vote. The rate cut was widely expected, but the split vote has raised some concern about predicting the future path of monetary policy.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell described U.S. prospects as "favourable" and the rate move as "insurance." He did not rule out future cuts, but his remarks were not as dovish as markets had hoped for.

The euro rose 0.1% against the dollar to 1.1045, while the British pound was little changed at 1.2468.

Investors are awaiting a Bank of England policy meeting later Thursday. The BOE is expected to  keep rates unchanged, but uncertainty over Brexit has complicated the monetary policy outlook.

The Australian dollar was down 0.6% at 0.6786 after data overnight showing that the country’s unemployment rate unexpectedly rose in August, underlining the case for additional stimulus by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

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Euro to Pound Sterling Exchange Rate Struggles to Sustain Gains despite Stronger Eurozone Data

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Euro to Pound Exchange Rate Floundering as Investors Unwind Bets against Sterling

Tuesday’s stronger than expected Eurozone data wasn’t enough to keep the Euro to Pound Sterling (EUR/GBP) exchange rate climbing, as the Pound (GBP) remained generally appealing while investors unwound bets against it.

Since last week, hopes that a softer Brexit was still possible have led to a big Pound recovery. EUR/GBP fell over a pence last week and closed at the level of 0.8860.

This week, the Euro (EUR) has attempted to rebound but has been unable as investors are hesitant to sell Sterling too far for now.

While EUR/GBP has avoided last night’s three month low of 0.8844, the pair has only rebounded slightly and still trends low near the level of 0.8864.

Euro (EUR) Exchange Rates Unappealing despite Signs of Improvement in Eurozone Sentiment

The Euro has remained largely unappealing overall this week, as markets are still anxious about the possibility of Germany being in recession. Signs of optimism in yesterday’s Eurozone data were not enough to boost the shared currency against a stronger Pound.

Tuesday saw the publication of ZEW’s September economic sentiment index results. While Germany’s current conditions print was even weaker than expected, the outlooks were actually less dire than predicted.

German economic sentiment lightened to -22.5 and the overall Eurozone’s sentiment index lightened from -43.6 to -22.4.

Still, continued concern about the overall health of Germany’s economy, as well as uncertainty over the European Central Bank’s (ECB) latest monetary policy plans limited demand for the Euro.

Pound (GBP) Exchange Rates Sturdy as Investors Hope to Avoid Missing another Rally

Speculation that the Pound could continue a rally that started at the end of last week has kept investors from selling the British currency much so far this week.

Sterling has been highly volatile, as on Monday it briefly shed some of Friday’s gains, but rebounded and climbed again on Tuesday afternoon.

Analysts have said that the main question for the Pound outlook was whether no-deal Brexit was really off the table or not.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted that while he will not break the law, Britain will be exiting the EU on the 31st of October with or without a deal.

This, as well as warnings from EU officials that no-deal Brexit was a serious risk, kept no-deal Brexit fears on the table, keeping a lid on the Pound’s potential for gains.

Euro to Pound (EUR/GBP) Exchange Rate Awaits Central Bank Speculation and News

While developments in UK politics and Brexit will remain the primary influence for Pound movement, expected central bank news and likely speculation will be highly influential for the Pound to Euro (GBP/EUR) exchange rate over the coming days.

This evening’s Federal Reserve policy decision could cause some Euro movement if it surprises investors, due to the Euro’s negative correlation with the US Dollar (USD).

It will be followed by the Bank of England’s (BoE) own September policy decision tomorrow.

The BoE is not expected to show any notable shifts in tone, but if its stances have been shifted at all by data or Brexit news then the Pound could of course see some reaction.European Central Bank (ECB) speculation could influence the Euro’s movement as well, depending on today’s upcoming inflation rate stats. Overall, central bank and Brexit news is likely to influence the Euro to Pound (EUR/GBP) exchange rate.

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MARKET WRAP: Sensex up 83 pts, Nifty ends at 10,841; realty, metals surge

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Benchmark indices moved higher in Wednesday's noon trade after trading in a range-bound manner for a major part of the day. 

The S&P BSE Sensex gained 135 points, or 0.37 per cent, to 36,620 levels. Bajaj Finance, Tata Steel, State Bank of India, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and Asian Paints were the top gainers in the Sensex pack. The broader Nifty50 index was up 40 points, or 0.36 per cent, to 10,860 levels.

The Nifty sectoral indices, except Nifty FMCG, were trading in the green. Nifty Metal, Nifty PSU Bank, and Nifty Realty indexes all gained over 1 per cent each.

In the broader market, the S&P BSE MidCap index was ruling at 13,460 levels, up 78 points, or 0.6 per cent, and the S&P BSE SmallCap index was hovering around 12,900 levels, up 48 points, or 0.37 per cent.


Caution ahead of an expected US interest rate cut kept wider financial marketsin tight ranges.

European shares are expected to tread water, with pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 futures shedding 0.06 per cent, German DAX futures losing 0.1 per cent and FTSE futures down 0.14 per cent. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked up 0.14 per cent while Japan’s Nikkei dipped 0.18 per cent after 10 straight days of gains and China’s blue-chip share index rose 0.52 per cent.


03:46 PM
Nifty Realty among top gainers on the NSE today

Key indices on NSE

03:44 PM

RIL, SBI, ITC contribute most to Sensex's gain today

03:43 PM

Sensex heat map

GBP/AUD Slips from Three-Week High as UK Inflation Disappoints

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GBP/AUD Exchange Rate Muted as UK Inflation Misses Expectations

The Pound Australian Dollar (GBP/AUD) exchange rate is stuck in a narrow range this morning, in response to a weaker-than-expected CPI release from the UK.

At the time of writing the GBP/AUD exchange rate is currently trading at around AU$1.8218, virtually unchanged from the morning’s opening levels but down from a high of AU$1.8259.

UK Inflation Slows, BoE Rate Decision to Come

The Pound (GBP) is facing headwinds this morning as markets react to the UK’s weaker-than-expected consumer price index (CPI).                        

According to data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK inflation slowed from 2.1% to 1.7% in August, missing expectations for a modest slide to 1.9% and falling to its worst levels since December 2016.The drop in inflation is welcome news for consumers, as combined with the recent surge in wage growth, which struck 4% in July, consumer spending power is on the rise.

However, the slump in inflation could put more pressure on the Bank of England (BoE) to consider lowering interest rates.

The BoE will conclude its latest policy meeting tomorrow, and while no policy changes are expected from the bank this month, could the slowdown in inflation push the BoE towards lowering interest rates after Brexit?

Could a Rise in Unemployment Prompt another Rate Cut from the RBA Next Month?

Coming up later tonight the publication of Australia’s jobs report could see the Australian Dollar (AUD) continue to give ground.

Data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is expected to report unemployment rose from 5.2% to 5.3% in August as employment growth slowed from 41,100 to just 10,000.

The Reserve Bank of Australian (RBA) has repeatedly stressed that it views domestic labour figures as a key gauge of the health of the Australian economy.

Another rise in unemployment is likely to put more pressure on the RBA to continue easing monetary policy, with the minutes from the bank’s most recent policy meeting appearing to leave the door open for an October cut.

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India to invite bids from global coal miners before end of 2019: Sources

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India plans to invite bids from global firms for the first time for coal mining blocks before end-2019, sources familiar with the matter said, a move that would end Coal India Ltd's near-monopoly for the fuel as the nation tries to cut imports.

Coal is among the top five commodities imported by India, one of the world's largest consumers of the fuel. Coal imports are surging after the government failed to open the industry to competition, despite having passed a liberalization policy 19 months ago.

The coal block auctions are intended to attract global miners such as Glencore PLC, BHP Group, Anglo American PLC and Peabody Energy Corp.

The government aims to allow companies with winning bids to begin development of the coal blocks - which hold proven reserves - by early 2020, the three sources said.

It is not clear when the government expects to see first output from the coal blocks. India's Ministry of Coal did not respond to a request for comment.

Total imports of thermal coal - used mainly for power generation - rose by about a third during the quarter ended June 30 to 56.23 million tonnes as compared with the same period last year, according to government data reviewed by Reuters.

Coal India and a small stated-owned company are the only firms currently allowed to mine and sell coal in India. India does allow some power, steel, cement and aluminium companies to mine coal for their own captive use.

Saudi oil strike | Where is crude headed and how worried should India be?

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 Substantial supply disruptions, post attacks on Saudi oil field
- Crude oil prices soar in trade
- Iran the main suspect behind the attacks, geopolitical tension escalating
- US orders release of strategic oil reserve to ease supply issues
- Huge inventory and spare capacity to make up for lost barrels
- In the short term, India could feel the heat

The disruptive weekend attacks on Saudi Arabian oil fields have left oil prices rocketing and geopolitical environment tensed. With around 60 percent of the kingdom’s output at stake and disruption in nearly 6 percent of the world oil production, there have been talks of further price surge. In the event of any further geopolitical action and escalation, near-term firming up in crude prices cannot be ruled out.

While the prices would remain elevated in the near term, we see prices to normalise in the absence of retaliatory action. Though the extent of damage and the restoration period is unknown at present, we do believe that there is capacity in the global markets that would be willing to grab the lost barrels. Large inventories, spare capacity and strategic reserves could also provide some cushion. This would enable normalisation of the crude supply sooner than anticipated right now.n the shorter term, however, elevated crude prices could stand as a negative for Indian downstream oil and gas companies that source a major portion of their supply from the international market, which could get costly now. It would also mean higher raw material costs and lower margins for allied sector companies. However, higher crude price could bring short-lived respite for upstream oil and gas producers.

Nearly 60 percent of Saudi production at stake

In the early hours of September 14, 10 unmanned aerial vehicles struck the world’s biggest crude-processing facility in Abqaiq and oil fields in Khurais, triggering huge fires. Saudi Aramco, the kingdom’s state-owned oil company, said the attack has impacted nearly 60 percent of the kingdom's output and the company had to suspend around 5.7 million barrels from its production. This accounts for almost 6 percent of the world oil production. The price of Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose by more than 10 percent in the early hours of trading.

Thailand sees small impact on inflation after Saudi attacks

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 Thailand expects little impact from surging oil prices on its inflation rate and exports following attacks on Saudi oil facilities, a commerce ministry official said on Monday.

Saturday's drone assaults on Saudi oil facilities shut 5% of global crude output and caused the biggest surge in oil prices since 1991 after U.S. officials blamed Iran and President Donald Trump said Washington was "locked and loaded" to retaliate.

But the situation is not expected to drag on and should lift Thailand's inflation by just 0.01 percentage point, official Pimchanok Vonkorporn said in a statement.

The ministry is maintaining its 2019 headline inflation forecast of 0.7%-1.3%, she said, adding that the impact of oil prices on inflation is less than that of a strong baht , Asia's best performing currency this year.

The strengthening baht, which has gained 6.7% against the dollar so far this year, might keep inflation less than 1% this year, Pimchanok said.

In January-August, headline inflation was 0.87%.

Oil-related exports may improve only slightly and the ministry is sticking to the government's annual export growth target of 3% in the second half of 2019,

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Forex - Japanese Yen Rises Amid Heightened Geopolitical Tensions in Middle East

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The Japanese yen rose against the U.S. dollar on Monday in Asia amid heightened geopolitical tensions in the Middle East after weekend attacks on Saudi oil plants disrupted global oil supplies.

The USD/JPY pair dropped 0.3% to 107.80 by 12:00 AM ET (04:00 GMT).

Drone strikes attacked an oil processing facility at Abqaiq, the world’s largest, and the nearby Khurais oil field on Saturday and knocked out 5% of global oil supply.

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi group claimed responsibility for the damage, but the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeohas pointed the finger directly at Iran as he said over the weekend that Iran has launched an “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.”

The news intensified tensions in the Middle East, sending the yen higher as it drew safe-haven demand.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar traded slightly lower ahead of an interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday.

The U.S. dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of other currencies slipped 0.1% to 97.732. Data on Friday showed that U.S. retail sales increased more than expected in August. That came after better-than-expected producer price inflation data on Wednesday and consumer price data on Thursday.

The Bank of Japan is also due to meet this week. Some believe the central bank may push interest rates further into negative territory and ramp up stimulating policies.

Sino-U.S. trade developments also remained in the spotlight as junior U.S. and Chinese officials will reportedly meet this week ahead of planned talks between senior trade negotiators in October.

Tensions between the two sides eased somewhat in recent weeks after Beijing exempted some agricultural products from additional tariffs on U.S. goods last week and U.S. President Donald Trump postponed a tariff increase on a range of Chinese goods by two weeks.

The USD/CNY pair slipped 0.1% to 7.0717. The AUD/USD pair edged down 0.1% to 0.6872, while the NZD/USD pair gained 0.2% to 0.6381.

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